How to Enable Apple Watch Auto-Pause for Outdoor Running and Cycling Workouts

Tired of getting inaccurate workout data with Apple Watch during outdoor runs or bike rides? Instead of having to remember to manually pause your watch when it’s stopped, follow the steps for enabling Apple Watch auto-pause for outdoor running and cycling.

The potential issues with pauses and tracking during outdoor runs and bike workouts are often two-fold. First, it’s easy to forget to manually pause your Apple Watch at an intersection, for a break or for some other reason. This indicates that your distance, time, speed, intervals, etc. are not accurate.

Second, if you remember to pause your watch, it’s easy to forget to restart your workout, which also skews your data.

Luckily, you can enable auto-pause for outdoor runs and cycling.

Enable Apple Watch Auto-Pause for Running and Cycling Outdoors

  1. Open the Settings app on your Apple Watch (or the Watch app on iPhone)
  2. Swipe down and choose Workout
  3. Now swipe down again to find the Auto-Pause tap
  4. Tap the toggle to enable Auto Pause, then you can choose whether you want to use the feature for both running and outdoor cycling

Here’s what the process looks like on Apple Watch:

Enable Apple Watch Auto-Pause for Running and Cycling

In my experience with Apple Watch, it automatically shuts down about 2 seconds after shutting down. While third-party fitness apps often use GPS to enable auto-pause, Apple likely uses multiple data sources, including the built-in accelerometer, to accurately auto-pause.

And when I start again, I find that the workout tracking restarts within 2 seconds or resumes.

Apple Watch Auto-Pause Limitations

For now, Apple Watch can only use the built-in auto-pause feature for outdoor running or cycling tracking.

Hopefully we’ll see the feature expand to other workout types in the future.

Shortcut button

For other types of workouts, or if you don’t want to use auto-pause, you can manually pause workouts faster by pressing the side button and the Digital Crown at the same time. Press both again to resume tracking your workout.

This feature is on by default, but can also be turned off just below auto-pause in your watch’s settings > training.

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